Public Works Art Exhibition opens at The Arts Council

13On Friday, June 17, the Public Works Commission will host its 17th Annual Public Works Art Exhibition. The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m.

The self-proclaimed "biggest local art show" will be on display at The Arts Council of Fayetteville and will be an evening filled with much to see.
To celebrate 100 years of service, PWC teamed up with The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County and became an official sponsor of their annual art show. This event, previously titled Public Exposure, was a part of the community before PWC's involvement in 2005. With a name change to Public Works, the event has become one of PWC's most valued endeavors.

The Public Arts Exhibition is the Arts Council's largest attended show each year, with as many as 200 pieces of art on display. According to PWC Communications and Community Relations Officer Carolyn Justice-Hinson, for PWC, each year continues to get bigger and better.

While some might question the pairing of a utility service and local art, Justice-Hinson feels it makes perfect sense.

"This event is a great celebration of art in our community because it's open to everyone — just like us," she explained. "We take the opportunity to be there on opening night, and we'll have information available on conservation, and we exhibit a few of our trucks and equipment. For us, it's a good tool for community outreach and education about some of our services.

Like so many other major events around the city, this summer is the first Public Works Art Exhibition since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event, held downtown during the Juneteenth weekend, will feature art and artists of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels.

Justice-Hinson is excited to see new art and artists back up on the wall and is excited for them to share their work with the public.

"I love opening night," shared Justice-Hinson. "It's open to so many people, there are a lot of first-time artists, and that's my favorite part of it — to see the artist and their friends and families, standing by their work and sharing their inspirations. It's really gratifying."

The art on display is for sale at the artist's discretion and can at times cause a bit of a frenzy. Justice-Hinson recalls the entrepreneurial spirit of one young artist and his desire to sell his picture of a giraffe, drawn in crayon, for $35 to donate to his Boy Scout Troop. A bidding war ensued, and the little artist walked away with a hefty donation. In short, the PWC Art Exhibition is a place where anything can happen.

This year, the People's Choice Award for favorite art pieces will be online on the Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County website. Voting will stay open until July 23.
Justice-Hinson feels the show is for everyone, even those not normally inclined to think much about it.

"We have fabulous artists in this community who submit year after year, and you never know what to expect, but you always know it's going to be great. Even if you aren't really into art, people can find something with which to identify in this show. There will always be something that speaks to the times."

The PWC Art Exhibition opens Friday, June 17, and will run until Sunday, Aug. 20.

The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County is located at 301 Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville. For more information, visit or

Memoir details legal woes for Charles Kuralt's lover's Montana land

25Would you be interested in a new privately published memoir by a Bozeman, Montana lawyer, titled “Tilting at Montana’s Windmills for 50 Years”?

But what if he were my law school classmate? Still, no?
But what if I told you my classmate-author had been the lawyer for Charles Kuralt's long-time extramarital lover in her effort, after Kuralt's death, to secure a valuable tract of land in Montana that Kuralt had promised her before he died?

Does that get you interested?
Kuralt was beloved by people all over the country, but especially in his native North Carolina, for his human-interest stories on CBS TV’s “On-the-Road” and “Sunday Morning” programs. His warm, authoritative voice with perfectly pitched rhythms was irresistibly convincing.

Kuralt was married for many years to his second wife, Petie, and they lived together in New York City. Only a few people knew about his dual life and his long-term friendship and financial support for Patricia Shannon.

My Yale Law School classmate, Jim Goetz, is a hero in Montana for his work saving creeks and rivers. In his memoir, Goetz writes that Kuralt, “who fished in Montana, particularly in September, purchased land located on the Big Hole River.”
Kuralt and Shannon had planned for him to convey this property to her in the fall of 1997 when Kuralt would be in Montana to fish. Earlier, however, Kuralt became very ill, suffering from lupus.

To reassure Shannon about his intention to convey the parcel of Montana land on which she was living Kuralt wrote the following:

"June 18, 1997 Dear Pat - Something is terribly wrong with me and they can't figure out what. After cat-scans and a variety of cardiograms, they agree it's not lung cancer or heart trouble or blood clot. So they're putting me in the hospital today to concentrate on infectious diseases. I am getting worse, barely able to get out of bed, but still have high hopes for recovery ... if only I can get a diagnosis! Curiouser and curiouser! I'll keep you informed. I'll have the lawyer visit the hospital to be sure you inherit the rest of the place in MT [Montana] cx. if it comes to that. I send love to you … Hope things are better there! Love, C.”

Kuralt died in a New York hospital on July 4, 1997, at age 62.

Goetz agreed to represent Shannon. Although it was clear from the handwritten letter that Kuralt intended to give the land to Shannon, Goetz writes that the sole issue is whether the language or the letter “is sufficient to establish Kuralt’s intent to devise that property to Shannon.” Goetz writes that most of the estate lawyers he talked to thought that the language was “well short” of what is required to constitute a valid will.

The judge in the first hearing agreed, ruling against Goetz and Shannon. But after four appeals to the Montana Supreme Court, “the first in 1999, the fourth in 2003,” they won. Shannon was awarded the property.
Goetz acknowledges, “Although we won, most estate lawyers I’ve talked to think the result was wrong. Nevertheless, the case is discussed routinely in many courses in law schools around the country, probably because of Charles Kuralt’s celebrity status.”

Goetz does not have a high opinion of Kuralt. He writes, “My impression, by the way, is that Kuralt, although a very warm public personality, had a dark, depressive streak. Rumor was around Dillon [Montana] that he and Shannon were heavy drinkers.”

Goetz is a good friend and is entitled to his opinion, but if he ever comes to visit, after I thank him for his fascinating book about lawyering for good causes in Montana, I will remind him that for me and most others in this state, Kuralt will always be one of North Carolina’s great heroes.

Local poet offers spoken word performance of latest book

15Fayetteville native and spoken word artist Lawrence "Law" Bullock II is preparing to share his fifth book of poetry through a reading at The Sweet Palette on Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m. "Abstract Intoxication: A Poetry Reading" is Bullock's first one-man show, and he's excited to bring his art to the people of a city he loves so much.

"I'm nervous, but being nervous is a good thing. It means you care about what you're about to do or say," Bullock explained to Up & Coming Weekly.

A lifelong writer, the thirty-one-year-old poet, will share his most personal writing to date in the pages of "Abstract Intoxication," a title he feels aptly expresses the subject matter therein.

"The title came about because I wanted something to catch your attention and make you think. I don't want to be direct in my work — I love art that makes you see more than what's there. Intoxication comes from a love for your craft that's so strong it intoxicates you."

Bullock's work in this series touches on many topics, some dark, but all true to the poet himself. According to Bullock, addiction, reflection and a heavy emphasis on mental health make this work daring but necessary.

"For this particular show, I want to break mental health stigma and start an important conversation," Bullock said. "This book is the most intimate in terms of my backstory. Sometimes I don't remember everything that's happened to me; it comes and goes in flashes. This book is my attempt to hold on to those flashes."

The book and its message offer comfort and hope to those struggling with mental health. "We all go through the battles, but we're not alone," Bullock explained. "Mental health is a universal issue. Just because you're down or struggling doesn't mean there's something wrong with you."

Bullock was awarded a mini-grant by The Arts Council of Fayetteville to cover printing costs and art fees to bring Abstract Intoxication and its message to life.

The support for poets and other artists in the Fayetteville area is something Bullock would love to see more of from the community. He hopes readings like this bring more exposure to those wanting to share more of their craft.

"I want people to leave with a better sense and love of poetry. Just as with mental health, there's a stigma around poetry as well. So many people misunderstand it. I've been a vendor at a lot of events this year, and you can tell the people who are interested in poetry but don't know where or how to start. We need more people to come and support this awesome community."

Bullock is especially excited to share his work at The Sweet Palette, a premier bakery and art gallery in downtown Fayetteville.

"We've done a lot of shows at The Sweet Palette," Bullock said. "It has done so much for us poets in general and is the perfect place for this series — I'll have artwork behind me. Anyone who wants to have a good time on a Friday night should come to check it out."

The show will be about forty minutes long with plenty of breaks so people can enjoy delicious desserts and check out the work adorning the exposed brick walls.
Bullock invites "anyone seeking to understand spoken word poetry" and those who want a more intimate take on mental health.

As for himself and his work, Bullock is grateful for the opportunity to share his art with others.

"You can't be afraid to let people know what you have going on," he said of the show. "We're given gifts that we're not meant to hold on to —someone needs it."
The Sweet Palette is located at 101 Person St. For more information, visit To find more information on poetry and poets in Fayettville, visit


Artist with local ties brings his Reverse Reality back to town

18Taking what you see and reversing its concept of form — that’s the basic description of Reverse Reality art. Turning organic items like people and trees into geometric shapes and turning man-made objects into more fluid shapes. This type of art made by Jonathon Shannon will be on display at Dirtbag Ales throughout June in the new exhibit, Bringing It Back.

Shannon lives in New York City but has roots here in Fayetteville, growing up in a military family. He spent much of his childhood in our local city before graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Shannon traveled to France and Hong Kong during his college years to expand his understanding of art. He moved to New York City afterward and currently works as an art handler outside of being an artist.

His work has been featured in art shows and exhibitions in New York City, North Carolina, Savannah, Atlanta, Miami, Hong Kong and France.

However, Fayetteville is home. Shannon still has family in the city and came back to live here in the early months of the pandemic.

Bringing it Back is inspired by Shannon’s desire to bring his art in New York City back to his hometown to inspire his friends, family and community to dream big.

“This series is based on me living in New York City at the time. I basically go around the area within Brooklyn Manhattan area, just walking around and just painting on-site throughout the city,” Shannon said. “I do my own interpretation. Where in the past, I used to paint the way I see things, more like impressionists, and then that kind of coupled with that style. But I just kind of thought I was just repeating history. I developed a style called reverse reality.”

This isn’t the first art exhibit Shannon has had in Fayetteville. In 2016, his exhibit, NightLife: A Reversed Reality at Gallery 116th, was on display, and it was during this exhibition that Shannon met the owners of Dirtbag Ales for a sponsorship.

“So I reached out to them and see if they would be open to doing like a small sponsorship, or like drinks at my show. And they agreed to it, and it worked out amazing, and they really enjoyed the interactions with all my friends and family,” Shannon said. “I just enjoy that collaboration so much that when I came back down to visit, probably like, three months ago, I checked out their new location because they expanded because they’re doing so well and opened a new location from the ground up. And they wanted to keep that art theme to have some art in there. So I reached out to them after seeing their available space to have a show.”

The exhibit will be free to the public. The opening reception will be on June 3 from 5 to 10 p.m. Bringing it Back will be on display at Dirtbag Ales until June 30.

“Everyone’s welcome. Don’t feel judged. Art should be for the masses ... that’s kind of why I did it in more of a public area instead of a gallery,” Shannon said. “Galleries sometimes could make people feel a little bit secluded or cut off from society.”

More information about the gallery and the opening reception can be found at

Take some time to transform into ‘The Color Purple’ at CFRT

25bAmitria Fanae and Cerina Johnson sit on the prop stage set upon the actual stage at Cape Fear Regional Theatre. It has wide boards that make up a very inornate platform. The background of the stage is plain and minimalist, hinting toward the poverty and rural area in which the play is set.

Fanae kicks her legs out rapidly and tucks her head in as she smiles. Her feet are tucked into ankle-high brown boots. Fanae looks up, laughs and then connects arms with Johnson. The two break out into a simple children’s song. Fanae portrays a naive, young teenager perfectly. Celie has come to life before the audience’s eyes, and she is endearing.

Alice Walker’s famous novel-turned-musical, “The Color Purple,” has hit the stage at Cape Fear Regional Theatre this month. According to director Brian Harlan Brooks, the play is about a journey inward — one that many of the characters in this play take and one the audience themselves can take alongside them. This journey is full of boisterous musical numbers with amazing voices to match. The actors do not disappoint in their singing and musical talents; deep gospel-like tones are mixed throughout the entire play. Each song transforms the audience, bringing them to a place where music communicates without the need for much else. Both the songs sung by the entire company and single actors were glorious and felt rich in depth.

One of the best songs is “Hell No,” sung by Melvinna Rose Johnson, who played Sophia. In this song, Sophia describes the treatment that will not happen to her and the oppression she won’t allow. Her will is strong.

Johnson played her part well and gave the audience a lot of comedic relief through her potent display of a character with a who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are attitude and a stern but loving quality. She was captivating and mesmerizing to watch as she completely overtook the character. The audience falls in love with Sophia almost instantly.

Cerina's portrayal of a humble, abused and naive young girl is broken free by her louder-than-life voice and confident portrayal of a woman who is transformed. There is another fantastic performance by Fanae when she sings, “I’m Here.” In the moment, everyone in the room is proud of Celie and her ability to overcome and find within herself all that she ever needed.

These two characters were perfectly balanced by their counterparts, including Harpo and Shug Avery, played by Herbert White II and Toneisha Harris, respectively. White was a joy to watch and matched Sophia well with tidbits of comedic relief during the serious topics discussed during the play. Each time he took the stage, the audience waited in suspense to see what his next line or movement might be. Harris really steps into the role as the sexy, free-spirited Shug and has an intensely beautiful voice that fills the entire theatre.

The downside to this play was the occasional inability to understand the words being sung. This may have been a one-time sound issue but was still distracting during portions of the play. However, the beautiful, poetic music often overpowered the occasional inability to understand all the words of each song.

Towards the end of the play, the background will become a vibrant display of color and transform just as the character Celie has, and the audience may find themselves in a different place than where they started.

“The Color Purple” will run until May 29. Tickets are on sale at This play is rated M for mature due to references of a sexual nature and discussion of abuse.

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